Growing Indian Borage or Panikoorka in Mumbai

“I’ve fought enough with friend and foe, that borage ain’t ajwain

I’m so fed up, that I give up; never this plant again!”

Related Topics: How to Grow, Growing OrganicallyThe Art of Propagation!

Botanical Name: Coleus amboinicus

Common names: Indian borage, country borage, Cuban oregano, French thyme, Indian mint, Mexican mint, soup mint, Spanish thyme.

Often confused for Ajwain, this is a semi-succulent perennial plant in the family Lamiaceae with a pungent oregano-like flavor and odor. It’s leaves are edible and make good pakoras when coated in batter and deep-fried.

SEASONS: Indian borage is an annual plant in temperate climates, but grows as a perennial in Mumbai’s tropical climate. It can be sown and grown all year round.

PROPAGATING: This plant is easily propagated from cuttings.

PLANTING OUT: Choose medium-composted, well-drained soil that could be alkaline, mildly acidic or neutral, as this plant will tolerate different soil types. It does however, produce the richest foliage in alkaline soils that are not too rich in organic matter. If you are using cuttings, choose sturdy, de-leafed stalks of freshly cut Indian borage, planting them a few inches into the soil. You can plant your cuttings in direct sunlight or partial shade, and spaced about 6 inches apart to allow room for growth. Indian borage will grow well on open plots or in containers.

NURTURING: Indian borage grows enthusiastically and requires very little nurturing besides watering and occasional pruning of dead leaves. It does not tend to get preyed on by insects or other pests. Do not over-water this plant, and let it enjoy good sunlight and water, and it will keep you in good company and fine seasoning for years to come.

HARVESTING: Harvest tender, newer leaves as the plant grows. Indian borage will grow speedily and you will soon have lots to share with friends and family. After a few years, or if your stems turn yellowed and old, you can take cuttings for a new crop and uproot the older plant, composting it, replenishing the soil and using that space for growing fruiting or rooting veggies next.

SAMSUNG     SAMSUNG

Indian borage plants at two months – more than I can eat!

© Mumbai Farmer 2014. Do not copy in part or whole without prior written permission from the author. Infringement of copyright will render you liable for legal action.

30 thoughts on “Growing Indian Borage or Panikoorka in Mumbai

  1. Shaukat Islam

    Very good article. It has removed my confusion on Oregano vis-a-vis Ajwain.
    Is this plant available in nurseries of Mumbai and Kolkata?

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    1. Mandy Post author

      Thanks Shaukat! Oregano plants may not be easily available at nurseries. The best solution to getting one is to buy fresh, unrefrigerated oregano from upmarket food stores and then plant out their sturdiest stalks in soft, sunlit soil so it takes root and propagates. Good luck!

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    1. Mandy Post author

      Ajwain plants can be safely trimmed at the stem between leaf nodes. Insert cut stems in soil immediately and water for new plants to take root.

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  2. Gyaneshwar alladi

    I have dought I have bring ajwain plant after some month the pest has been come on whole plant so please him me how to rid the plant from the pest is their any fertilizer by I can save the plant or let him die

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    1. Mandy Post author

      Ajwain plants are usually very hardy and not prone to pest attacks. Are you sure your plant is getting at least 6 hours of sunlight a day? If pests continue, please trim the leaves and stems down to sturdy stalks. It will regrow from there. Alternatively, take cuttings shorn of leaves, plant in a sunny spot and water well. They will catch root soon.

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    1. Mandy Post author

      Thanks for writing in. Unfortunately this blogsite does not have a marketplace. Please try connecting with farming groups on facebook for this.

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  3. Ruqia

    Hi me Ruqia I have grown Ajwain seed but after sometime they destroyed.i will have to done MPhil research on Ajwain but it doesn’t grow.kindly help me which conditions given to sowing seeds of Ajwain.

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  4. Anonymous

    Hi, are there different varieties of ajwain plants? The plant shown in the picture, is it the same plant from which carom seeds are harvested?

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  5. rituchandra

    Kindly answer following questions:
    1. Can i put ajwain seeds in pot directly to grow this tree?
    2. If i put around 20-30 seeds, in how many days, i can expect saplings? and
    3. Will the ajwain tree available in market and grown from ajwain seeds would be same?

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    1. Mandy Post author

      Yes, well-preserved ajwain seeds will grow in a sterile and clean potting medium. I would estimate saplings to emerge within a couple of weeks. I have not seen ajwain leaves being sold in any Mumbai markets yet. However, the ajwain plant is readily found in Mumbai nurseries and once you get one, you can propagate from cuttings very easily, more easily than from seed.

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    1. Mandy Post author

      Ajwain leaves are usually eaten as a tea-time snack, fried as pakoras in a chane ke atta batter. I’ve tried that. They’re pretty yummy!

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  6. Kanchan

    Hi there.. good article. I have a problem with my ajwain plant.. please help! The plant is sprouting many leaves almost too many…however the leaves are small in size and don’t grow beyond 1-2 cms in size. The plant is kept in full sunlight and watered once a day. Looking to your advice. Thanks!

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    1. Mandy Post author

      Hi Kanchan, it’s difficult to tell without pictures. However, if the plant was growing bigger leaves in the past and smaller now, one reason could be (water and sunlight being equal) lack of nutrition. Ajwain would thrive on a nitrogen rich potting medium – think compost – and you would not go wrong with sprinkling some gobar and epsom salts in the mix.

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